A 23-year-old Nampa man admitted Friday he sexually molested nine boys, ages 5 through 12, and showed pornography to a 7-year-old. Joshua Curtis Ritchie will find out early next year how long he will go to prison.
Baby-faced and slight of build, former day care worker Ritchie quietly declared guilty to the litany of felonies: Nine counts of lewd conduct for manual genital or oral-genital contact with young boys; one count of sexual abuse of a minor for inducing a child to witness a sexual act; and two counts of sexual exploitation of a child for possessing sexual images of underage males.
In exchange for his guilty pleas, Canyon County prosecutors agreed not to file additional charges against Ritchie in connection with other victims who have been identified by investigators. The former employee of Cornerstone Childcare has reportedly admitted molesting 23 children, including day-care clients and members of his family.
When sentenced in February, Ritchie could face up to life in prison the maximum penalty for lewd conduct with a child. Deputy Prosecutor Erica Kallin said the plea agreement does not restrict sentencing recommendations, and all of Ritchies victims, including those he wont be charged with molesting, will be able to present victim impact statements at sentencing.
Kallin said she expects victims and their families to participate in the sentencing hearing. Fridays plea-change hearing included no emotional statements, attorney arguments or details of the circumstances of the crimes.
Many of the incidents happened this year; others dated back to 2009 or 2010, according to the charges. The porn-watching incident happened in 2007, when Ritchie was 18.
Two of the victims were 5 years old, and Ritchie entered an Alford plea to one of those lewd conduct charges. That means he doesnt admit that crime but acknowledges theres enough evidence to convince a reasonable jury of his guilt.
Police started investigating Ritchie in August after a mother told them her 5-year-old son said Ritchie had him touch his penis on several occasions. According to court documents, a detective posed as the boy's father and confronted Ritchie, asking him if he'd been experimenting. Richie responded "Uh huh," police said.
Many anxious parents contacted Canyon County investigators, concerned that their children had contact with Ritchie. The number of charges mounted.
Ritchie remains in jail on $2.5 million bond. He is scheduled for sentencing Feb. 28 after a psycho-sexual evaluation is completed.